OCTOBER SKYNOTES, 2018

OCTOBER STAR CHART, 2018
Please click on the Chart to enlarge, if necessary.

The chart shows the whole sky, at the times given at the top left of the chart.
The edge of the chart is the HORIZON, and the ZENITH is at the centre.
This chart is for LATITUDE 54 degrees NORTH, and is produced using 'PLANETARIUM GOLD' software.

OCTOBER SKYNOTES 2018

 

October 2018

 

During all of the month except the last day, the Sun is passing through the constellation of Virgo. This constellation is the second largest in the entire sky – the largest being Hydra (the swamp snake). On October 31st around 12h, it passes the constellation border into Libra.

 

The Moon

 

The Moon is at apogee, its furthest from the Earth, on the 17th at 19h, (diameter 29 minutes of arc), and at perigee its nearest to the Earth at 22h on the 5th October and also on October 31st at 20h, (diameter 32 minutes of arc.)

 

Last Quarter Moon is on the 2nd at 09h46 in Gemini and is the highest (53°) last quarter Moon, when it culminates in the south (crosses the south meridian at sunrise.) There is a second last quarter Moon on the 31stat 16h41 in Cancer.

 

New Moon is on the 9th at 03h48 in Virgo, when the Moon passes 3° north of the Sun,

 

The First Quarter Moon occurs on the 16th at 18h03 in the constellation of Sagittarius, and is a low altitude FQ Moon culminating less than 20° above the southern horizon at 18h00.

 

 

The Full Moon is at 16h46 on the 24th on the Pisces/Cetus border.  The October FM is often called the Hunter’s Moon, named after Herne the Hunter, who leads the Yell Hounds across the early winter sky, and whose ‘yelpings’ can be heard in the skeins of wild geese migrating at this time of year. Alternative ideas have been put forward for the name given to this Full Moon; one idea is that as the Moon is now higher in the sky when full, it gives more light for poachers to stalk their prey. Another is that when the Moon is high in the south at midnight, the constellation of Orion the Hunter is completely clear of the SE horizon for the first time since last winter. As the Hunter’s Moon rises during the evening of the 24th, the ‘Autumn Square’ of Pegasus lies some 35° to the upper right of the Moon.

 

Earthshine may be seen illuminating the night hemisphere of the waning crescent Moon from the 3rd to the 8th, and the waxing crescent Moon from the 10th to the 15th.

 

You may observe the morning cone of the zodiacal light from the 8th to the 22nd. Look for its ethereal glow in the morning sky during October, but to see it, you must be away from light polluted skies. In light intensity, it is slightly fainter than the Milky Way.

 

The Planets

Mercury was in superior conjunction last month, and during October lies to the east of the Sun. Unfortunately the ecliptic, the Sun’s apparent path, makes a very shallow angle with the horizon and so Mercury is lost in the glare of twilight, and setting just 30 minutes after the Sun, will not be visible.

 

Venus reaches inferior conjunction with the Sun on the 26th, and will not be visible in the evening sky for the rest of this year.

 

Mars gradually fades during the month, and sets just before astronomical midnight. The planet lies in Capricornus and on the 24th of October has a visual magnitude of -0.7 and so throughout the month is still an exceptionally bright object. During the evening of the 17th the waxing gibbous Moon may be seen approaching Mars, which lies 8° to the east (left) of the Moon. The following night, the 18th, the Moon lies 3° to the left of Mars, and the two objects make a pleasing spectacle in the SSE at 18h.

 

At the beginning of October, Jupiter sets just after 19h; but it sets before 18h at the end of the month. So the period for observing the planet is quite short. However Jupiter, and its four Galilean moons can still be seen in the south western twilight. On the 11th,the two day old, thin, waxing crescent Moon with earthshine may be seen within 5° of the SW horizon at 18h in the fading twilight, and Jupiter lies 3° to the east (left) of the Moon at this time.

 

Saturn lies in western Sagittarius, just below the star Polis (mu Sagittarii) and culminates at an altitude of just over 10° in the south as the Sun is setting. As a result of this the planet is now only available for a couple of hours or so after the Sun sets. The broad waxing crescent Moon may be seen approaching Saturn during the evening of the 14th, when at 19h the two are 5° apart low in the SW.

 

Uranus is at opposition (opposite the sun in the sky), and at its closest distance to Earth, on the 24th and is theoretically visible all night. On the threshold of naked eye visibility (+5.7), the planet lies on the Aries/Pisces border, and on this night is in conjunction with the Full Moon, which lies some 9° to the lower right of the planet. They both culminate at midnight. You can see a star chart showing the planet’s path amongst the fainter stars of Pisces on the Remote Planets page, accessible from the Menu above.

 

Neptune, in Aquarius, is visible for much of the evening, but sets just before 02h at the end of October. This remote planet shines at +7.85, and although below the threshold of naked eye visibility, it can be seen easily in binoculars. The planet lies 2° to the east of the +3.74 star lambda Aquarii. These two objects culminate between 21h and 22h at an altitude of around 30° during the month. Far to the south of them, culminating also, is the first magnitude star Fomalhaut (alpha Piscis Austrini). This star lies 22 light years away and so is a neighbour of the Sun

As with Uranus, please visit the REMOTE PLANETS page where Neptune’s path amongst the faint stars of Aquarius, may be seen.

 

Some more remnants of Halley’s Comet may be seen in the early hours from the 21st to 24th, when the earth encounters the Orionid stream. Up to 25 shooting stars an hour are expected, but this year conditions are unfavourable because of the bright Moon being present in the western sky during the early mornings. These meteors tend to be fast moving and often leave persistent trains. The biggest number of Orionids will be visible just before dawn, when the constellation of Orion is high in the south. The radiant, or point of origin of the shooting stars is some 10° above Betelgeuse, the star which marks the right shoulder of the Giant Hunter.

 

Earlier in the month, at between 23h and 00h on the 8th/9th an increase in the number of shooting stars overnight marks the peak of the Draconid or Giacobinid (whose parent body is the comet Giacobini-Zinner) meteor shower, with its radiant in the constellation of Draco the Dragon.  Conditions are favourable as the Moon will not interfere by adding its natural light pollution.

 

Constellations visible in the south around midnight, mid-month, are as follows: Cetus, Pisces, Aries, Triangulum and Andromeda. Cassiopeia and the Milky Way lie at the zenith, with the Milky Way spanning the sky from east to west.

 

 

Clocks go back on October 28th at 2am (BST)

 

All times are GMT(UT)     1° is one finger width at arm’s length.

 

OCTOBER 2018 (Summary)

 

 

Date Hour Description of the phenomenon
yyyy mm dd hh:mm

 

Times are given in UT for SCARBOROUGH (0° 25' 0" W, 54° 16' 3" N, zone 0 = UT (GMT)).

Date Hour Description of the phenomenon
yyyy mm dd hh:mm

2018 10 02 05:15 Maximum of the variable star delta Cephei
2018 10 02 09:46 LAST QUARTER OF THE MOON
2018 10 03 02:03 Beginning of occultation of 56 Gem (magn. = 5.09)
2018 10 03 02:33 End of occultation of 56 Gem (magn. = 5.09)
2018 10 03 20:04 Minimum of the variable star Algol (beta Persei)
2018 10 05 07:46 Maximum of the variable star eta Aquilae
2018 10 05 22:29 Moon at perigee (geocentric dist. = 366392 km)
2018 10 06 16:43 Minimum of the variable star beta Lyrae
2018 10 06 16:53 Minimum of the variable star Algol (beta Persei)
2018 10 07 14:02 Maximum of the variable star delta Cephei
2018 10 07 15:59 Opposition of the asteroid 63 Ausonia with the Sun (dist. to the Sun = 2.413 AU; magn. = 10.5)
2018 10 08 19:37 Meteor shower : Draconids (10 meteors/hour at zenith; duration = 4.0 days)
2018 10 09 03:47 NEW MOON
2018 10 09 13:42 Minimum of the variable star Algol (beta Persei)
2018 10 09 20:15 Maximum of the variable star zeta Gemini
2018 10 10 10:34 Meteor shower : S. Taurids (5 meteors/hour at zenith; duration = 71.0 days)
2018 10 11 10:41 Meteor shower : Delta Aurigids (2 meteors/hour at zenith; duration = 8.0 days)
2018 10 12 10:30 Minimum of the variable star Algol (beta Persei)
2018 10 12 12:01 Maximum of the variable star eta Aquilae
2018 10 12 22:49 Maximum of the variable star delta Cephei
2018 10 13 00:05 Opposition of the asteroid 43 Ariadne with the Sun (dist. to the Sun = 2.194 AU; magn. = 10.3)
2018 10 15 07:19 Minimum of the variable star Algol (beta Persei)
2018 10 16 09:00 Mercury at its aphelion (distance to the Sun = 0.46671 AU)
2018 10 16 14:51 Opposition of the asteroid 346 Hermentaria with the Sun (dist. to the Sun = 2.512 AU; magn. = 10.5)
2018 10 16 18:02 FIRST QUARTER OF THE MOON
2018 10 17 19:16 Moon at apogee (geocentric dist. = 404227 km)
2018 10 18 04:08 Minimum of the variable star Algol (beta Persei)
2018 10 18 07:37 Maximum of the variable star delta Cephei
2018 10 18 12:22 Meteor shower : Epsilon Geminids (3 meteors/hour at zenith; duration = 13.0 days)
2018 10 18 17:59 End of occultation of 30 Cap (magn. = 5.40)
2018 10 19 15:17 Minimum of the variable star beta Lyrae
2018 10 19 16:16 Maximum of the variable star eta Aquilae
2018 10 19 23:50 Maximum of the variable star zeta Gemini
2018 10 21 00:56 Minimum of the variable star Algol (beta Persei)
2018 10 21 01:42 Close encounter between the Moon and Neptune (topocentric dist. centre to centre = 2.9°)
2018 10 21 12:50 Meteor shower : Orionids (20 meteors/hour at zenith; duration = 36.0 days)
2018 10 23 16:24 Maximum of the variable star delta Cephei
2018 10 23 21:45 Minimum of the variable star Algol (beta Persei)
2018 10 24 00:46 OPPOSITION of Uranus with the Sun
2018 10 24 13:19 Meteor shower : Leo Minorids (2 meteors/hour at zenith; duration = 8.0 days)
2018 10 24 16:45 FULL MOON
2018 10 26 14:17 INFERIOR CONJUNCTION of Venus with the Sun (geoc. dist. centre to centre = 6.3°)
2018 10 26 18:34 Minimum of the variable star Algol (beta Persei)
2018 10 26 20:32 Maximum of the variable star eta Aquilae
2018 10 28 02:08 Beginning of occultation of 104 Tau (magn. = 4.91)
2018 10 28 02:45 End of occultation of 104 Tau (magn. = 4.91)
2018 10 28 20:18 Opposition of the asteroid 23 Thalia with the Sun (dist. to the Sun = 2.509 AU; magn. = 10.2)
2018 10 29 00:20 Beginning of occultation of 62-chi2 Ori (magn. = 4.64)
2018 10 29 01:09 End of occultation of 62-chi2 Ori (magn. = 4.64)
2018 10 29 01:12 Maximum of the variable star delta Cephei
2018 10 29 06:23 Close encounter between Mercury and Jupiter (topocentric dist. centre to center = 3.1°)
2018 10 29 15:22 Minimum of the variable star Algol (beta Persei)
2018 10 30 00:03 Beginning of occultation of 43-zeta Gem, Mekbuda, (magn. = 4.01)
2018 10 30 01:04 End of occultation of 43-zeta Gem, Mekbuda, (magn. = 4.01)
2018 10 30 03:24 Maximum of the variable star zeta Gemini
2018 10 31 16:40 LAST QUARTER OF THE MOON
2018 10 31 20:05 Moon at perigee (geocentric dist. = 370204 km)

 

Generated using COELIX APEX software

OCTOBER 2018 LUNAR OCCULTATIONS VISIBLE FROM SCARBOROUGH, UK. Time = UT (GMT)
Times are UT, so add 01h for Summer Time - Daylight Saving.
Generated using COELIX software

HUNTER'S MOON with THE WILD HUNT in progress!